Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Moana

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, because there's nothing better to do on a Friday night than sit at home, along, watch a movie, and blog about it.  *sigh*  Let's watch Moana!  Well, I watched it on April 1, 2017, and am just now posting it.  That's how far I work ahead on this!

300!!  Can you believe it?  This is my 300th installment of Fishing in the Discount Bin!  According to my DVD and Blu-Ray cataloging program, I'm coming up on owning 900 movies.  So...600 more to go! 

And for #300, we get to Disney's latest animated epic Moana.  I was pretty jazzed for Moana when it came along, mainly because of it's directors:  John Musker and Ron Clements.  Film historians have come to call the 1990s the Disney Renaissance, as Disney animation was back on top of their game and could do no wrong.  Musker & Clements were the two who were at the forefront.  Of the four films that defined the Renaissance, they gave us two of them:  The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.  After that, the still-fun Hercules.  After that, they'd build up enough cred to finally do their dream project, the sci-fi revisioning of Treasure Island known as Treasure Planet.  After that, they retired for a bit, but then Disney brought them back to do The Princess and the Frog.  After that, they finally decided to try this newfangled computer animation with Moana.

Not gonna lie...I really dug Moana.  Of Disney's two big animated films in 2016 (the other being Zootopia), my preference goes to Moana.  It was fun to see the traditional Disney princess thrust into a "chosen one" narrative.  And Moana is a likable princess.  She takes no guff from no one as she sets out on her quest, and is charmingly voiced by young Hawaiian actress Auli'l Cravalho. 

So, Moana takes its cues from Polynesian culture, and the islands of the South Pacific.  Moana is destined to be the next leader of her tribe, but her heart is restless.  She wants to set out on a boat and explore the oceans...something that her people abandoned long ago.  But then, when the crops on their island start dying, Moana's grandmother attributes it the work of the demigod Maui.  When Maui stole the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, a darkness began to spread across the land, and now Te Fiti is the prisoner of the lava demon Te Ka.  Turns out Moana was chosen by the ocean and given Te Fiti's heart as a child.  Now, as the chosen one, she must set out on the ocean, find Maui, and take him to Te Fiti to return the heart.  A simple quest.

And the she gets to Maui.  Oh my goodness.  As much as Robin Williams stole the show as the Genie in Aladdin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson steals the show in Moana.  This dude is truly having fun in this role.  Granted, his singing's not the best in his big musical number, You're Welcome, but it's so enjoyable you don't care.  Equally as scene stealing is Maui's tattoo, which comes to life and serves as his conscience.  Maui's tattoo was done with traditional hand-drawn animation, supervised by legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg. 

The songs are pretty good, too.  Done by Broadway's current #1 superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda, there's lots of catchy songs in the film, such as the aforementioned You're Welcome, and the Oscar-nominated How Far I'll Go

If I have one quibble, it's that the plot seems a little disjointed.  It's more like a series of mini-adventures that Moana and Maui have before they get to Te Fiti.  I kinda of miss the scheming villains and the romantic subplots. 

I had a whole hell of a lot of fun with Moana.  Check it out.

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